Who Killed Iraq’s Shiite Leader?


The Shiites rule Iran, and 60 percent of Iraq is Shiite. So who would dare kill Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, the chief leader of the Iraqi Shiites? And bomb the Shiites’ holiest shrine? The August 29 car bombing of the Imam Ali mosque in the Iraqi city of Najaf, which along with al-Hakim killed at least 90 others, raised some vital questions. Any group responsible for this heinous crime could turn Iran, the number-one terrorist-sponsoring nation, against them. Could any terrorist group survive the wrath of Iran?

Almost immediately, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein sent out tapes stating that they had nothing to do with this bombing. Why? Undoubtedly because they fear what Iran could do to their terrorist organizations.

So who did this grotesque deed? It is an act that will probably change the course of Iraq rather dramatically.

Who will now lead the Iraqi Shiites? The Shiite clerics have real power. Nobody in Najaf rebels against a cleric. So whoever gets control of the Shiites could have more power than anyone in Iraq!

Ayatollah al-Hakim encouraged the Shiites to give America a chance to bring peace and stability to Iraq. So there was a certain amount of cooperation with the U.S. His brother is even a member on the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council.

But did the ayatollah’s political posture fit with Iran’s sponsoring of violent terrorism? No, it did not. (Please read my article on p. 2 about the war against terrorism.)

Here is a disturbing excerpt from a Newsweek article, September 8: “Especially worrisome are statements attributed to Moqtada al-Sadr, the son of a revered ayatollah murdered by Saddam in 1999. Although he has little religious standing, al-Sadr has shown himself capable of rallying enormous crowds to his anti-American banner. ‘The Americans will not protect our clerics nor let us provide that protection because the Americans are the enemy,’ said a spokesman for al-Sadr, speaking on Al Arabiya television after Friday’s bombing.

“Then again, many Iraqis, including residents of Najaf, believe it was al-Sadr who ordered the earlier murder near the Imam Ali shrine and possibly last week’s attack. … And the murkiness doesn’t end there. Because al-Sadr is not himself a high-ranking Islamic scholar, he depends on a radical Iran-based ayatollah to give his organization religious direction and credibility” (emphasis mine).

Why is this considered “murkiness”? The Newsweek article, titled “The Danger Is Very Close,” didn’t elaborate. But I think it should have. This bombing fits Iran’s pattern of terrorism for over 20 years! And I don’t believe any other Arab state or terrorist group would dare commit such an act—which would amount to a declaration of war against Iran.

America and Britain are standing in the way of Iran’s very ambitious goal for the Middle East. And so far it has let nobody stand in its way. Could the most powerful Shiite leader in Iraq be allowed to cooperate with the hated U.S.?

How can we ever win this war in the long run? Oil-rich Iran can keep providing terrorists and armaments endlessly! They are fighting this war from their strength and can’t lose. America and Israel are both fighting the terrorists from a dangerously weak position and can’t win. Both are either ignorant of the basic cause of terrorism or they are afraid to use their superior military might. Regardless, our lack of will is why we can’t solve the terrorist problem. What a great advantage for the terrorist-sponsoring nations!

Several Middle Eastern nations support terrorism. But all of them know that the king of state-sponsored terrorism is Iran. And they generally follow the leader.

This is the kind of reality that most of our leaders refuse to face. Until we do, we have no chance of winning our war against terrorism.

The real power base of Mideast terrorism is Iran. This nation is the king. Iran leads the “axis of evil” in the Mideast. Labeling this axis is not enough. Endless talk and writing won’t stop this deadly problem. Sponsoring terrorism is an act of war. Terrorism will continue to flourish until we deal with this reality.

We must understand the origin of state-sponsored terrorism. Until we do, the “murkiness” will continue as we try to solve the terrorist problem. It’s as if we have come into the middle of the movie and are confused about what is really happening. We must see the movie from the beginning!

But there is a deeper problem. We fear to face the cause of this problem. Our will has been broken, so we try to solve the problem the way the Israelis do—and their terrorist problem grows worse! The Israelis also lack the will to deal with Iran—the origin and primary source of world terrorism!

We are essentially fighting the terrorist war as the Israelis are. So look closely at their pathetic failure. That is going to be our outcome in this war unless we radically change our strategy.

Iran, along with Syria and other nations, will keep undermining whatever we do. We may slow the process, but in the long run, Iran will win this war. (I explain this in more detail in my article on page 2 of this issue.)

Iran should be given a choice: Stop sponsoring terrorism or the war will be extended into your nation. The U.S. has never been in a greater geographic position to put pressure on Iran. But do we have the will? That will continue to be the big question.

How can we win the war against terrorism if we don’t see, or refuse to fight, the real enemy?